Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl
German philosopher, and mathematician, born in Moravia. He converted from Judaism in 1887, studied at Leipzig and Berlin, and at Vienna came under the influence of Franz Brentano and made philosophy his career. He lectured at Halle 1887–1901 and became professor at Göttingen 1901–16 and Freiburg 1916–28, being succeeded by his student Martin Heidegger. He pioneered ‘phenomenology’, which he named. Rejecting the philosophical a priori assumptions of logicians and natural scientists, he maintained that the approach should be made by analysing the experience of phenomena by self.
This process, which Husserl called a ‘phenomenological reduction’, leads to the revelation of a ‘transcendental self’, the experiences of which it is the task of the researcher in this field to explore. In his last years he adopted a more all-embracing concept of consciousness, which satisfied nobody. Husserl broke with Heidegger over his support for Hitler.